Brakes ramps up its attack on school holiday hunger

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Meals and More Summer Lunch Club with Scotland's National Chef Gary Maclean. Pic: Brakes
Meals and More Summer Lunch Club with Scotland's National Chef Gary Maclean. Pic: Brakes

Related tags Brakes Sysco Meals and More child hunger Food poverty coronavirus

UK foodservice wholesaler Brakes has pledged another £500,000 over the next five years to support Meals & More in its ongoing fight to end holiday hunger, bringing its total contribution to the charity to over £1m.

Meals & More has supported thousands of British families since Brakes founded the independent registered charity in 2015 to support children who live with poverty and social isolation and have limited access to adequate food and activity throughout school holiday periods.

The charity has grown significantly in recent years, particularly as COVID exacerbated the challenge, sending millions of families onto the poverty line. Prior to the outbreak, an estimated 4.2 million children were living in poverty in the UK, risen by 600,000 since 2012.

During 2021 alone, Meals & More provided more than 750,000 packed meals and food parcels to British families in need. Earlier this year, the not-for-profit tipped the milestone of proudly providing children across the US with 1 million meals.

It currently provides funding to 17 delivery partners and 265 holiday clubs across the UK – expected to increase in the coming years to reach more vulnerable children – and continues to actively champion an end to child food poverty by supporting, for example, Marcus Rashford’s Child Food Poverty Task Force, a coalition of charities and food businesses calling on government to support the three relevant recommendations from the National Food Strategy.

Ever more important

“The latest tranche of funding will mean that we’ve invested more than £1m in supporting the aims and ambitions of Meals & More,”​ said Peter Jackson, CEO of Brakes’ parent company Sysco GB.

“When we started the charity in 2015, holiday hunger was not well understood, and our mission was to create a movement to put an end to holiday hunger by bringing the issue to government and the public’s attention. 

“Fast forward almost seven years and it’s very much on the public agenda and we’ve made so much progress in that time.

“Sadly, however, it seems that in these challenging times, the work of Meals & More is even more important to many families. We look forward to helping the charity continue its valuable work in the coming years.”

The investment in Meals & More aligns to Sysco’s ethos, which is to connect the world to share food and care for one another. The American multinational corporation is involved in marketing and distributing food, equipment and related items to wholesale, hospitality, healthcare and educational businesses. By 2025, Sysco has pledged to generate $500m worth of good in the communities in which it operates around the world. 

“We are delighted that Brakes remains so passionate about our work,”​ said Peter McGrath, operations director at Meals & More.

“Without their support, which spreads far beyond generous financial donations, the charity wouldn’t have been able to achieve anywhere near as much as we have.”

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